Responsibilities of participating organizations.

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§ 16.4 Responsibilities of participating organizations.

(a) Any organization that receives direct or indirect Federal financial assistance shall not, with respect to services, or, in the case of direct Federal financial assistance, outreach activities funded by such financial assistance, discriminate against a current or prospective program beneficiary on the basis of religion, religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to attend or participate in a religious practice. However, an organization that participates in a program funded by indirect financial assistance need not modify its program activities to accommodate a beneficiary who chooses to expend the indirect aid on the organization's program and may require attendance at all activities that are fundamental to the program.

(b) Organizations that receive USDA direct assistance under any USDA program may not engage in explicitly religious activities, including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization, as part of the programs or services funded by USDA direct assistance. If an organization conducts such activities, the activities must be offered separately, in time or location, from the programs or services supported with USDA direct assistance, and participation must be voluntary for beneficiaries of the programs or services supported with such USDA direct assistance. The use of indirect Federal financial assistance is not subject to this restriction. Nothing in this part restricts the Department's authority under applicable Federal law to fund activities that can be directly funded by the Government consistent with the Establishment Clause.

(c) Nothing in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section shall be construed to prevent faith-based organizations that receive USDA assistance under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq., the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, 42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq., or USDA international school feeding programs from considering religion in their admissions practices or from imposing religious attendance or curricular requirements at their schools.

[85 FR 82134, Dec. 17, 2020]

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